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Here are 5 ways iOS 7 can help the enterprise

Since the release of the first beta release to developers in June 2013, iOS 7 has been making news in the tech world. With the public release just a few weeks old, reactions from end-users and tech pundits have been mixed. Change is hard for some and iOS 7 is loaded with changes. While the most obvious of those changes are cosmetic, several make iPhones and iPads more friendly to enterprise use. Those changes are the real story behind iOS 7.

There are dozens of new features aimed at business use, making this the most enterprise-friendly release of any iOS incarnation to date. Most of these features require that apps incorporate them into new releases and so will take months to become evident to end-users.

Though it is currently the norm, over the long-term, few businesses will build their own apps from scratch. Thus, the five iOS 7 features highlighted below are those that have the greatest positive impact on business because they increase the security and utility of both purpose-built corporate apps of today and the third-party apps of tomorrow.

  • Single sign-on: Apple is incorporating a shared keychain capability that takes advantage of MIT’s widely-used Kerberos protocol to allow apps to manage federated credentials with a single point of authorization. Applications that use the shared keychain for storage of credentials can rely on a one-time authorization challenge to gain access to the device. Using the feature means that users will no longer be required to repeatedly enter credentials in order to move between multiple applications.
  • Automatic third-party app encryption: This is a stealthy move that makes data stored by all apps automatically encrypted on the iOS file system using a derivative of the end-users passcode or fingerprint token to define a unique key. Incorporating this feature makes bring-your-own-app a less risky proposition for corporate data security by removing the need to trust third-party developers to handle encryption duties. By making the platform more secure by default, Apple is removing a tremendous amount of overhead for app developers, and making it more feasible for consumer developers to make the jump to enterprise developers.
  • Managed open-in: This feature makes it possible for IT to mandate that attachments to corporate email accounts be opened only within approved applications. By restricting what applications an employee can use to open an emailed file, IT can block users from sending attachments to Box or Dropbox applications. This prevents pushing potentially sensitive information into unmonitored, personal cloud storage. It might also be used to ensure that applications which cache file contents locally have the ability to encrypt files in the iOS file system and support remote wipe functionality. This opens up a new area for existing app developers to differentiate themselves to security-sensitive IT buyers.
  • Per-app VPN: Corporate IT can use this feature to use mobile device management software to designate which applications are required to access network resources through a globally-defined VPN tunnel. The apps themselves need not be modified to work with the new VPN feature, which will make plug-and-play third-party app purchases more feasible for enterprise software purchasers.
  • Meet iBeacon: This capability, added to the Core Locations framework, will allow applications to detect the position of the device relative to other iBeacon-enabled devices. Other devices can include both other iOS handsets or tablets and dedicated devices that might be used to mark areas of interest within a physical space. Applications can exploit the ability for iBeacons to report their positions relative to each other to embed positional intelligence in a truly granular fashion. Such iBeacons could also be used to alert employees when a customer is nearby or to allow staff to locate medical equipment in the 3D space of a multi-floor hospital environment. None of these use-cases could be supported with the degree of location resolution available through existing GPS location features.

As the weeks and months unfold for business users, it will be fun to measure the impact of iOS 7 and the new batch of iOS devices showing up in boardrooms and airport lounges. I’d love to hear if you think iOS7 will have as big an impact on productivity as the first iPhone did. Of the many business-oriented features that I did not choose for my list which are you most excited about?

Tim Panagos is the former Chief Architect of Accenture and current CTO of Point.io.

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Live blog: Apple iPad event

Has it been a full year since Apple updated its iPad product line? Indeed it has and this year Apple has a new 64-bit chip for mobile devices that would fit nicely in a new iPad. Folks have craved a high-resolution Retina Display iPad mini while I’m also hoping for an iPad keyboard accessory designed by Apple.

Om and I will be calling the play-by-play directly from the Apple event in a live blog right here starting a little before 10am PT, when the event kicks off in San Francisco. So stay tuned to this page for a constant flow of updates on Apple’s anticipated iPad refresh along with some other Apple news direct from Tim Cook and company.

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The rebirth of hardware demands new definition of design

The nature of hardware is changing. This will force long-term disruptions in optics, biotech, robotics, and elsewhere. Because of these changes, capturing new design skills is essential.

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Design app Paper and Moleskine team up to print your digital creations, at $40 a pop

FiftyThree, the company behind iPad journaling app Paper, and upscale notebook maker Moleskine are partnering to let Paper users order print versions of their journals straight from the app.

Paper Moleskine

Paper, which Apple chose as its best iPad app of the year for 2012, lets users create multimedia journals with digital watercolors, drawings and paintings. The app itself is free, but users buy additional tools to sketch, color and so on. Paper is often one of the App Store’s top-grossing apps, and FiftyThree raised a $15 million funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz in July.

The Moleskine partnership, called “Book,” lets users order a 15-page, full-color print book from Paper’s app. The pages are arranged accordion-style and match the iPad screen’s 4:3 ratio. Users can create a custom cover or select Moleskine’s traditional black cover.

A few caveats: At $40 a pop, it’s not cheap. (International orders are available but you’ll tack on more for shipping.) And for the best results, you need an iPad with retina display: Paper’s FAQ warns that “Older iPads with lower-resolution screens won’t generate images that are as clear as newer, high-resolution Retina iPads. The printed image quality is still pretty good on Books printed from iPad Minis and older iPads, but for best results, newer iPads will make for the sharpest pages.”

In addition, users need to consider the difference between a shiny iPad screen and the matte paper their books are printed on:

“We are printing onto paper that has a matte finish, so colors will not be as bright as when you look at them on a glossy, backlit screen. Additionally, pure white will not be printed. Instead, the slightly cream colored background will show through, which will affect the tone of your highlights.

If you’re sketching with the intention of creating a Book, using colors that are a little brighter than you’d normally use on a screen will ensure that your colors are still bright when they come off the press.”


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All you can read or watch: A guide to subscription streaming services for kids

You’ve probably seen the horror stories about kids charging thousands of dollars’ worth of iTunes purchases to their parents’ credit cards — so kids’ streaming services with a set monthly subscription price for all-you-can-consume content may offer moms and dads some peace of mind. And in recent months, a bunch of these services — offering unlimited access to ebooks, videos and other types of entertainment for kids — have launched.

I took a look at subscription services for kids in two categories — ebooks and video — and compared them by the number of titles offered, cost, age range, platform and titles and brands available.

BookBoard4

A few things to note: Most of the ebook offerings focus on picture books and are aimed at younger children. And if you sign up for one of these services, you’ll almost definitely need a tablet (only Sesame Street makes its books available for web reading for now). Bookboard and Amazon both offer some chapter books for older children, but if your kid is over 12, you should probably check out the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library or the new service Oyster instead.

On the video side, so far big companies — YouTube, Amazon and Netflix — dominate the space, though you should stay tuned for startups to get involved as well. Amazon and Netflix, in particular, are battling each other for your kids’ eyeballs, especially when it comes to popular shows like Dora the Explorer. So watch for both companies to continue bulking up their kids’ content offerings.

Finally, we mentioned Amazon’s Kindle FreeTime Unlimited in both the ebook and video sections because it is the only service to offer both kinds of content (along with games and apps, which we didn’t include in this roundup).

Streaming services: Ebooks
Service Number of titles Cost Ages Platforms Content providers
include
Bookboard 400 $8.99/month, or $29.99
for 6 months
1 to 12 iPad, with previews on the web Open Road, Charlesbridge, Peachtree;
series include Berenstain Bears and Boxcar Children
Amazon Kindle FreeTime Unlimited 1,011 ebooks (and other types of content; see below) Prime members: $2.99 / child or $6.99 / family / month.
Non-Prime: $4.99 / child
or $9.99 / family / month
Amazon says 3 to 8, but
there are a bunch of books aimed at older kids as well
Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD Houghton Mifflin, Sesame Workshop,
Open Road
Sesame Street ebooks 170 $3.99/month or
$39.99/year
2 and up (preschool) iPad and Web Sesame Workshop
Reading Rainbow 300 ebooks, 50 video field trips $9.99/month, or
$29.99 for 6 months
3 to 9 iPad National Geographic Kids, Little, Brown
Books for Young Readers, Charlesbridge, Holiday House
Streaming services: Video
Service Number of titles Cost Ages Platforms Content providers
include
Amazon Kindle FreeTime Unlimited 341 movies and
TV shows
Prime members: $2.99 / child or $6.99 / family
/ month. Non-Prime: $4.99 / child
or $9.99 / family / month
3 to 8 Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD Disney, Nickelodeon, Sesame Street, PBS Kids
Netflix Kids N/A $7.99/month for
Netflix streaming
All, since Netflix also offers
content for adults
Many, including web, iOS,
Android, Xbox, Wii, Apple TV, many connected TVs
and DVD players
Dreamworks, Disney, Scholastic, PBS, Hasbro,
YouTube Paid Channels 14 channels aimed at kids and families $1.99 to $3.99/month, depending
on the channel
BabyFirst PLUS channel for
babies and toddlers; other channels for preschoolers and older kids
Web, iOS, Android, Apple TV, many connected TVs
and DVD players
Jim Henson, Sesame Street, National Geographic Kids

Have you subscribed to any of these services to your kids, or do you have others to recommend? Let us know in the comments.


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How the truly smart home could finally become a reality

For the smart home to ignite the IoT, home automation software platform vendors must provide open APIs. SmartThings and future open-API platforms could be the disruptive players that encourage a tidal wave of interconnected things.


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If you’re single, your mom is more likely to use an iPad than you are

A new study from Flurry Analytics is out, filled with data about iPhone and iPad usage collected randomly from 44,295 users during the month of May. This data is helpful for advertisers, but it’s pretty interesting for everyone else as well.

Did you know, for instance, that bargain hunters and single people are more likely to use their iPhones than anyone else? And on the other end of the spectrum, iPad usage ranks highest among pet owners, small business owners, and yes, moms.

This actually makes a lot more sense than it sounds. Think about it: The top three groups of people most likely to spend more time on an iPhone (value shoppers, singles, and hip urban lifestylers, according to the study) are all far more likely to be “on the move” than iPad users – the aforementioned pet owners, small business owners and moms.

These results hold true when you look at the chart below. The groups of people more likely to be out and about are also more likely to use their phones, while the iPad is more popular among the groups of people more likely to spend most of their time at home.

Flurry iPhone iPad

The study also compares the amount of time spent using particular apps on the iPhone versus the iPad. Unsurprisingly, features like navigation and health and fitness come out on top for the iPhone, since people are more likely to use these apps while on the move. Education and Newsstand, however, are more popular on the iPad. This makes sense, given the iPad’s larger display for long-form reading and the more home-oriented nature of these types of apps.

Finally, Flurry analyzes the time of day people spent using their iDevices. iPhone and iPad usage are about average in the morning hours, though the iPad sees a large spike between 6-10PM when most people are likely to get home, sit on the couch, and power up their device. Later than that, however, iPhone use is much more prevalent, as all those singles and hip urban lifestylers hit the town.

What it all comes down to, then, is that if you’re single, your mom is much more likely to be reading this on an iPad right now than you are.


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How consumer media consumption shifted in the second quarter

The shift in consumer media consumption from fixed, dedicated platforms to open, IP-based platforms caused problems for both in the second quarter. The period also saw a courtroom showdown between Apple and the Justice Department over ebook prices and a set-back for 3DTV.


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Delivering positive ROI from mobile-enabled projects

Enterprises can achieve much by focusing on a business-driven, ROI-focused approach to BYOD strategies. Every mobility project varies in the amount of ROI delivered and how each organization (whether enterprise or government) measures the net savings, new opportunities, or operational efficiencies. This report looks at seven real examples from enterprises that are benefiting from a positive ROI.


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Lost in (hotel) Wi-Fi: My love & hate relationship with hotel Wi-Fi

Earlier this morning when reading a press release (no link, sorry) from a company called Danmagi, I came across this line:

Wi-Fi is now one of the most essential services a hotel can provide apart from a bed, and yet poor internet connection is on the top 3 list of complaints from hotel guests around the world.

Nah! It is really my #1 complaint.

There was time when all of us road warriors walked around with a laptop and a phone (probably a Blackberry). Now we carry around a phone, a tablet (or a Kindle) and a laptop. I am guessing connected cameras are coming next and a slew of other gadgets with a built-in need for the network. And at the same time we are all going to be using cloud services for everything; listening to music, watching videos, working, buying and ordering food. In such a world, the network (both in terms of stability and quality) takes on greater importance.

MD-WFAPThe common refrain is — well let’s just use LTE. And while we all like to believe that LTE is the panacea to our networking woes, the fact remains that we still are heavily reliant and will be reliant on Wi-Fi, especially when on the go. According to ABI Research, there were a total of 4.9 million hotspots owned by carriers (including those run by the likes of Boingo and iPass) and the total number will hit about 6.3 million in 2016.

Of course, the place where one feels the pain most acutely is in the hotels — who in my opinion are the worst offenders in providing decent and generous connectivity. It is not as if they don’t have a way to quietly tuck in the charges into our room rates! As someone who spends a sizable amount of time on the road checking into random hotels, I can safely say that bad Wi-Fi is one of my biggest complaints.

According to Hotel Chatter’s 2013 Hotel WiFi Report:

  • Nearly two-thirds of hotels offer some kind of free Wi-Fi. (It is hard to say if it really is free if the price of the hotel room goes up a few dollars a night and we don’t know about it.)
  • The standard amount of bandwidth in a hotel with free Wi-Fi is usually about 1Mbps per each room. (I can categorically state that is not really true.)

It doesn’t matter if the hotels (or motels) are big or small. It doesn’t matter if they are in New York or Nashville, the fact of the matter is that both the quality of network connections and the bandwidth available on the network simply sucks. Even in the best of hotels one struggles to 500 Kbps to 600 Kbps. Try watching Netflix at that bandwidth, or in my case the MLB game! I guess our shifting media habits are killing the in-room video-on-demand business, a lucrative sideline for the hotel industry. (When I am in a really bad mood, I am likely to call it a nice racket!)

freewifiSure, I can do some basic surfing and emails on this so-called free Wi-Fi, but that’s about it. And someone who needs to blog — and thus keep up with a whole slew of news and information sources when on the go — it is virtually impossible to use the Wi-Fi for even getting the work done. I almost always take the upgrade option, paying more for more bandwidth only to find that it still sucks. Unless these guys get their act together and build high-quality robust networks, they can’t really expect people to pay up.

For now, I almost always end up using the LTE network (if it is available.) But we are already starting to see that LTE networks are getting crowded and slower and slower. So it is not difficult to imagine things are going to get a lot worse for those of us dependent on-the-go internet.

Like I said — I love the connectivity in the hotels, I just hate the poor quality networks.


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Where new opportunity lies in the mobile operating system space

Roughly half a dozen new mobile operating systems will come to market over the next 6 to 12 months. Many of these look to be more sophisticated than the older ones controlled by Apple and Google. This report will examine the most noteworthy of these new operating systems, Blackberry 10, Firefox, Tizen, and others. It will also document their competitive advantages and disadvantages and gauge what their chances of success — or even true disruption — might be.


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    Survey: How apps can solve photo management

    A recent survey found that 76 percent of respondents store their digital photos on multiple devices using multiple services.That means ample opportunity exists for companies offering solutions that tackle this “dispersed photo problem.” This report analyzes the aforementioned survey’s results, and also measures 18 different vendors against what respondents value most when it comes to photo-organizing solutions.


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    FT launches “second generation” web app, says online payments will soon be much easier

    The Financial Times last year decided to eschew the world of Apple and app stores in favor of an independent mobile content strategy based on web apps. The publisher says it has no second thoughts about the decision, and is instead pushing forward with its web-based smartphone and tablet experience.

    On Wednesday, the FT rolled out a new version of its iPad offering that lets readers toggle between a live version of the website and a static view that resembles the morning newspaper. The new “app” also allows readers to clip articles to FT web app homepageread later and features a personalized reading history and financial portfolio.

    “It’s a much superior second-generation web app based on the latest HMTL5 implementation out there,” said FT.com’s Managing Director, Rob Grimshaw, in a phone interview. He added that it’s only on the iPad for now, but will soon be available on other devices like the iPhone, the Chromebook and Android devices.FT web app My FT

    While the new version of the web app is nice enough aesthetically (you can see screenshots at right), its real significance remains on a symbolic level. In deciding to bolt Apple altogether last year, the FT took up a vanguard position in the web vs. app debate – standing for the position that improvements in HTML5 means native apps have become unnecessary. Other premium publishers, such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, have so far resisted the FT’s “all-in on web” approach and continue to design apps specifically for Apple and Android devices, and sell them through app stores. (We’ll be digging into the web vs. app debate at paidContent Live later this month.)

    The FT’s decision to quit the app stores meant it would no longer have to fork out a 30% commission to the likes of Apple, but also raised a risk that readers would fail to find the publisher on smartphones and tablets. Grimshaw says this”discoverability” concern is not an issue for major brands, and that the FT’s tablet traffic has actually risen 70% since leaving iTunes.

    “If you are a big brand, why not use that? We don’t need Apple or anyone else to say what the FT is,” said Grimshaw.

    He did acknowledge that collecting payments from mobile devices are still a challenge for publishers; unlike iTunes, which already has a user’s credit card on file, the web doesn’t offer a quick and easy way for people to pay. Grimshaw added, though, that a solution is coming soon.

    “Players like Amazon are opening their payment plan more,” he said. “There’s Amazon, PayPal and one or two others. It’s problem that’s about to get solved.”

    For now, Grimshaw says that 15-20 percent of new digital subscriptions are coming via a mobile device and that he expects that number to rise. Like its sister publication, The Economist, the FT has unbundled digital access from its print subscriptions and is offering a variety of price points: a premium online subscription is $8.49 a week while a standard one is $6.25 (Grimshaw says a third of subscribers buy premium); a print and digital subscription is $11.49 while print-only is $7.25.

    The FT has become something of a poster child for the idea that news that a bright future in the digital era. It recently announced that it had “crossed over” with its audience, amassing more digital subscribers than print ones. But, as we’ve noted before, the Financial Times‘ distinct audience and product make it more of an outlier than a model that lots of other news publications can replicate.

    paidContent Live: April 17, 2013, New York City. Register Now


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    FT launches “second generation” web app, says online payments will soon be much easier

    The Financial Times last year decided to eschew the world of Apple and app stores in favor of an independent mobile content strategy based on web apps. The publisher says it has no second thoughts about the decision, and is instead pushing forward with its web-based smartphone and tablet experience.

    On Wednesday, the FT rolled out a new version of its iPad offering that lets readers toggle between a live version of the website and a static view that resembles the morning newspaper. The new “app” also allows readers to clip articles to FT web app homepageread later and features a personalized reading history and financial portfolio.

    “It’s a much superior second-generation web app based on the latest HMTL5 implementation out there,” said FT.com’s Managing Director, Rob Grimshaw, in a phone interview. He added that it’s only on the iPad for now, but will soon be available on other devices like the iPhone, the Chromebook and Android devices.FT web app My FT

    While the new version of the web app is nice enough aesthetically (you can see screenshots at right), its real significance remains on a symbolic level. In deciding to bolt Apple altogether last year, the FT took up a vanguard position in the web vs. app debate – standing for the position that improvements in HTML5 means native apps have become unnecessary. Other premium publishers, such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, have so far resisted the FT’s “all-in on web” approach and continue to design apps specifically for Apple and Android devices, and sell them through app stores. (We’ll be digging into the web vs. app debate with three influential publishers at paidContent Live later this month.)

    The FT’s decision to quit the app stores meant it would no longer have to fork out a 30% commission to the likes of Apple, but also raised a risk that readers would fail to find the publisher on smartphones and tablets. Grimshaw says this”discoverability” concern is not an issue for major brands, and that the FT’s tablet traffic has actually risen 70% since leaving iTunes.

    “If you are a big brand, why not use that? We don’t need Apple or anyone else to say what the FT is,” said Grimshaw.

    He did acknowledge that collecting payments from mobile devices are still a challenge for publishers; unlike iTunes, which already has a user’s credit card on file, the web doesn’t offer a quick and easy way for people to pay. Grimshaw added, though, that a solution is coming soon.

    “Players like Amazon are opening their payment plan more,” he said. “There’s Amazon, PayPal and one or two others. It’s problem that’s about to get solved.”

    For now, Grimshaw says that 15-20 percent of new digital subscriptions are coming via a mobile device and that he expects that number to rise. Like its sister publication, The Economist, the FT has unbundled digital access from its print subscriptions and is offering a variety of price points: a premium online subscription is $8.49 a week while a standard one is $6.25 (Grimshaw says a third of subscribers buy premium); a print and digital subscription is $11.49 while print-only is $7.25.

    The FT has become something of a poster child for the idea that news that a bright future in the digital era. It recently announced that it had “crossed over” with its audience, amassing more digital subscribers than print ones. But, as we’ve noted before, the Financial Times‘ distinct audience and product make it more of an outlier than a model that lots of other news publications can replicate.

    paidContent Live: April 17, 2013, New York City. Register Now


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    iPad Could Be Wirelessly Charged Through the Smart Cover

    Smart_cover
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    A new patent application submitted by Apple describes an interesting way of charging the iPad — through a wireless charger built into the device's Smart Cover

    The application, filed back in September 2011, describes a "protective cover arranged to protect at least a display of a tablet device" with a body portion comprising "an inductive power transmitter arranged to wirelessly pass power to a corresponding inductive power receiver unit."

    In other words, Apple's Smart Cover could be an additional battery that charges the iPad when it runs out of juice, without the need to actually connect it with the iPad's dock Read more...

    More about Apple, Ipad, Wireless Charging, Tech, and Gadgets